Graeme Swann came to the fore as England took control of the second Investec Ashes Test but Peter Siddle's late intervention ensured Australia were not quite down and out at Lord's.
A total of 16 wickets tumbled - 10 of them in a hapless Australian effort of 128 all out - as the 2013 series continued to write its own idiosyncratic script.
By stumps on day two the hosts, already 1-0 up from Trent Bridge, were 264 ahead on 31 for three, having opted not to enforce the follow-on.
Swann played the starring role, returning figures of five for 44 - his 16th Test five-for - and getting the occasional ball to turn lavishly out of the footmarks.
That the picture was not even bleaker for their opponents owed everything to Siddle, who picked up the scalps of Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen in the final hour.
England's first innings was ended for 361 in the morning, Swann and Stuart Broad adding 48 quick-fire runs in a merry last-wicket stand that mitigated a strong start from Australia seamer Ryan Harris (five for 72).
That appeared to be a par score but a combination of disciplined bowling and dismal batting saw Australia respond with a paltry 128 all out.
Too many of the visiting batsmen were complicit in their dismissals as the innings was wrapped up inside 53.3 overs.
Only Shane Watson (30) and captain Michael Clarke (30) passed 15, as wickets tumbled at regular intervals - James Anderson and Broad taking one apiece and the recalled Tim Bresnan justifying his selection in place of Steven Finn with two for 28.
Ashton Agar, the debutant whose 98 from number 11 spared Australia's first-innings blushes in the series opener, was this time run out sloppily for two.
England followed their standard policy of batting again, despite a lead of 233, but they struggled.
Siddle castled Cook, then persuaded Trott to play on for a duck before Pietersen played a wild stroke to join them in the pavilion.